A baby monitor was one of those items that made me turn my nose up before I had my daughter. It seemed like nothing but an overpriced luxury item for the paranoid and did not make the cut for my registry. I remember saying, “If she needs us, we’ll hear her.” We live in an older house with hardwood floors, and every little sound seems to travel. Of course we hear our baby when she wails – it just never occurred to me that there might be times when we might want to hear her BEFORE she wails. (Like pretty much every time because by the time she’s wailing she’s wide awake and then we’re all screwed.)
We started off about as low-tech as you can get these days. A friend of mine had an old school radio-style monitor kicking around in her house. It does its job, but it’s quirky. You sometimes cannot hear baby over the static, the volume of which depends on the positioning of the monitor in either room (or whether you stand near it or plug something in near it or wiggle your toe or breathe near it), and both the baby and parent ends have giant antennas that make it look like a Saved By the Bell-ish giant cell phone. Weirdness aside, it worked well enough to suit our most basic needs and allowed us to tend to baby before she was screaming. I patted myself on the back for avoiding another unnecessary baby expense by going low-tech and second hand.
One morning I went into baby girl’s room to get her up, and she was facing the wrong way. As in, I put her down with her head pointing north, and in the morning it was pointing south. She’s a pretty wiggly kid, and I would often find her in there kicking her legs around wildly after wake-up. At the same time, she’s not very mobile for a 7-month-old, and she doesn’t even roll both ways yet. So I think I was understandably confused about what was going on in her crib that night. I started to think about how awesome it would be to spy on her without the risk of waking her up. I got the idea into my husband’s head, and after a few weeks of persuading, our brand new video monitor arrived on our doorstep.
I couldn’t wait to try it out! The day we set it up, I rushed through baby’s bedtime routine. As soon as I put her down, I hurried downstairs, chucked her bottle in the sink, and fumbled with the monitor until I found the “on” position. My hands were practically shaking, that’s how excited I was. As I saw baby’s video image for the first time, my mind went something like this: OMG there she iiiiiiis! She’s the cutest! I love that I get to watch her sleeeeep! Wait, is she sleeping? Are her eyes open? Why do her eyes look open? Night vision is so weird. Ok pretty sure she’s sleeping. Why is she moving so much? She looks so cuuuuute! Look at her little hand moving! How can she be moving so much and not making noise? Is the volume on? Ok good she’s not moving. Now she’s moving again!
It turns out that, between long stretches of being still, baby girl moves around a LOT in her sleep. Turn to the left. Arm over head. Arm down. Curl legs in. Legs down. Turn to the right. Every time I glanced away from the monitor and back, it seems like she is in a different position. I don’t know how she sleeps through all that, but she does – and that’s all that matters!
The verdict: I am obsessed with our new video monitor! Watching baby sleep is helping to satisfy my curiosity about what she’s doing in there, and I just love looking at her. On the downside, I am obsessed with our new video monitor. I can’t seem to stop looking at the thing, even though 99% of the time, it is too much information. It’s a really good thing that I didn’t have the monitor until now. I am a major league worrier by nature – combine that with being a brand new mom, and I probably would have been going into baby girl’s room every time I saw her move in the early days. I am sure that some find the video monitor to be a necessity, but for me it remains a luxury item.